Why do some nations succeed economically and others fail? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden shares highlights from a new book that explores the reasons.
“This is a book called Why Nations Fail. It was actually co-authored by an economist and a political scientist. I have to say I read a lot of books, obviously, and I have to say this is one of the best books I’ve read probably in the last decade. It looks at the scope of time and compares nations, over time, across nations, and it really gets to a core question of economics … and that is, Why do some nations appear to succeed economically? Why do some not?
“Now at first glance you might say, ‘Well, nations (that) have a lot of natural resources, raw materials like oil, they’re going to succeed. Or nations that have a very high educational level — they’re going to succeed.’ Not really. We can have a lot of counter examples of that.
“And really the conclusion the authors reached was that any nation can succeed if they, number one, are inclusive so that people feel part of the system. They vote. They have educational opportunity. That means they’re going to strive to do better, and you’re going to get the best out of every person.
“And, secondly, that the nations are open to change and competition. They don’t let entrenched interests keep out innovation and inventions and new kinds of companies.
“Those are really the formula. That’s the formula, I should say, that those authors really decide really pushes nations to succeed and propel themselves over time.”